The Rev. Robert E. Daly Jr., who was rector of the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Hamilton for two decades and earlier served several other Maryland parishes, died April 3 of cancer at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville.
The former Cub Hill resident was 82.
“During his time at Messiah, it was a very vibrant place and he was very involved in the local community, and spent his entire ministry in Maryland,” said former the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Ihloff, who served as the Episcopal Bishop of Maryland from 1995 until his retirement in 2007.
“Bob was a fine man and a lovely priest, and was considerably outgoing and friendly,” he said. “He was well-loved at Messiah and always fun to work with.”
“Bob was a very kind person and he put in a lot of time here,” said Ann Vanneman, a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, and whose family have been active communicants there since the early 1930s. “He was always willing to meet people the way they were.”
Sister Francesca Krolczyk, who taught mathematics at parochial schools as a member of the Franciscan Order, died of stroke complications March 24 at Sinai Hospital. She was 91 and lived in West Towson.
“What impressed me most about Bob was that he was a leader and stellar kind of guy,” he said. “He was special.”
Robert Edmund Daly Jr., who was born in Baltimore and raised in Bolton Hill and later in Walbrook Junction, was the son of Robert Edmund Daly Sr., a salesman, and his wife, Virginia Porter Daly, a homemaker.
Father Daly’s evolution into what became the Episcopal priesthood began when he was a young child.
“One of the mothers that my mother met took us to the Memorial Episcopal Church on Bolton Street, which is why I’m an Episcopalian,” Father Daly said in a talk he presented at Broadmead several years ago. “My father was a lapsed Roman Catholic, and my mother’s family were Methodists.”
After moving, Father Daly began attending Ascension and Prince of Peace Episcopal Church, which in those days was in Walbrook, and “became my second home,” he said.
“My ministry began as a young teen, as an acolyte and teaching Sunday school, and, within a few years running the Sunday school, as well as leading then Sunday service for families with children, and taking leadership in the youth programs and activities,” he said.
Raymond Edwin Hardy Jr., a retired music teacher who spent three decades making fine classical instruments played in symphony orchestras, died of Alzheimer’s disease complications March 10 at Gilchrist Hospice Care of Howard County. The Catonsville resident was 86.
“We went to the same church in Walbrook and met at Sunday school,” said his future wife, the former Anne Elizabeth Limpert. “He was older than me and was Sunday school superintendent. I was just one of the brats who was always running around the church.”
He became an active member of the Grachur Club, where he worked summers, and after graduating in 1954 from Polytechnic Institute, he helped support his mother and sister.
Drafted into the Army, he was given a hardship discharge because of his family situation. He then went to work at Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. as a telephone customer representative.
Dr. Catherine G. Gira, whose career took her from a high school English teacher in Cationsville to president of Frostburg State University, died March 26 at Friends House in Sandy Spring. The longtime Columbia resident was 86.
In 1981 he was named rector of the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in the 5800 block of Harford Road in Hamilton and remained in that position for the next two decades, until retiring in 2001.
“Bob was a very philosophical person who could roll with the punches and didn’t get down in the mouth about things,” said Bishop Ihloff, who first got to know Father Daly at seminary.
“He was a wonderful Christian who loved sharing his love of Christ with his people. It was an important part of his ministry,” he said.
“Bob was willing to listen to people from both sides, and even though he didn’t always agree, he’d listen to different opinions,” Mrs. Vanneman said. “Before he came to Messiah, we had two rectors who only stayed five years, and he stayed 20. We needed someone to stay and make that commitment, and he did.”
She added that “everyone remembers his wonderful laugh.”
Michael E. Busch, a gregarious former coach and high school teacher who became the longest-serving House of Delegates speaker in Maryland history, has died after a short bout with pneumonia. He was 72.
“What impressed me was how he held together different factions of the church and what our theology should be,” Mr. Vanneman said. “He was a moderate who could hold people together and didn’t pick sides even though he had his own side.”
After leaving Messiah, Father Daly served for several years as Bishop Ihloff’s assistant at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, where he was interim rector.
He was the former president of the Diocesan Standing Committee in Maryland, which was a “particular honor,” Bishop Ihloff said.
When he was a student at Poly, Father Daly was a member of the fabled Poly Follies, a theater group, and he liked bringing theatrical productions to his church, “because he wanted to open the world to people,” his wife said.
He enjoyed music and was always humming a tune, family members said.
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